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November 6, 2000

From: Michelle Smith, Executive director of corporate relations and
Emory United Way coordinator

To the editor:

The LGBT Commission has raised important issues regarding the actions of the Boy Scouts and their relationship, if any, to Emory’s participation in the United Way. This is a complex issue that must ultimately be answered personally. I only hope that in so doing, inquiry will lead us all to a fuller understanding of charity.

Some have suggested that the Boy Scouts should be penalized by having Emory decline to participate in United Way or have donors reduce or elect not to donate. It seems unfair to penalize 249 otherwise worthy nonprofits throughout the 13-county metro area because the national leadership of one grantee has a position with which many people disagree. Further, as a top-down organization, Boy Scout chapters nationwide are mandated to follow their directive even if they disagree—and some do—or lose their funding and affiliation as a Scout chapter.

In Atlanta, United Way cuts would likely eliminate some inner city and suburban Scout troops and not affect national leadership at all. Why should United Way and its grantees bear the burden of the Boy Scouts actions? United Way didn’t yield to pressure several years ago to exclude Planned Parenthood and has decided to do the same for the Boy Scouts.

For some years now, United Way has enabled donors to direct their donations to eligible grantees and to specific funding areas. By completing the pledge form and the specific care form included in every employee pledge package, one can direct a donation to or away from any eligible grantee.

Emory has made sure that United Way is aware of the array of questions and concerns that have been expressed regarding this important issue. So, give until it feels good and share your thoughts about these issues and employee workplace giving by logging on our web site at



Back to Emory Report Nov. 6, 2000